Friday, July 25, 2014

Islamic State Militants Reportedly Capture An Army Base in Syria

The Islamic State militants today reportedly captured the headquarters of the Syrian army’s 17th Division in northeastern Syria near the city of Raqqa. The New York Times said the assault on the army base began on Thursday. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the government troops abandoned the base, leaving behind the bodies of scores of soldiers. There are reports of large cache of arms and military hardware falling in the hands of the militants. Other reports indicate that at least a part of the base was still in the hands of government forces.

The capture of the 17th Division headquarters would be a significant win for IS insurgents, providing significant amount of ammunition and military hardware for their future battles in Syria, but also inside Iraq; the IS controls major line of communications linking eastern Syria and northern Iraq. 

An IS fighter reached by phone in Raqqa told the New York Times that the assault began with two suicide bombers driving into the base in separate attacks and detonating explosives. The militants then stormed the HQ building.

“We lost 13 martyrs in these battles,” the fighter said. He added that the ISIS dead included seven Syrians. (The New York Times, 25 July)

The Division 17 complex had been the target of previous attacks, but all had been foiled before this latest assault.

File photo: IS militants in the city of Raqqa, Syria. (Aljazeera)

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